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Winter is coming. Here’s how to prepare your garden

Break out the gardening tools. Fall is a great time to relocate plants, clean up debris and add mulch to protect roots from frost and freezes.
Break out the gardening tools. Fall is a great time to relocate plants, clean up debris and add mulch to protect roots from frost and freezes.

Q: Now that my plants have passed their peak, what should I do to prepare for winter?

— Karen P., San Luis Obispo

A: Autumn is the perfect time to clean up your garden from the past season and plan for the next planting cycle. Begin by taking a walk through the garden with paper and pen in hand. Make note of what worked last year and what did not.

Are there new plants or planting combinations you want to try? Did you have too many vegetable beds in the spring, or did you want more flower beds for color? Take notes on any areas needing an irrigation adjustment, and identify any plants that would perform better in a different location.

Relocating plants is best done in the fall, when cooler temperatures encourage to go dormant. Clean up debris to avoid harboring insects and diseases during the winter months and add mulch to protect plant roots from frost and freezes.

Consider planting a cover crop to add nitrogen to the soil and help keep weeds down.

When buying bare-root plants such as roses or trees, arriving at local nurseries, be selective and be sure the plant fits the intended location.

Remembering the rule of “right plant, right place” will save you time and money in the long run. It is easy to plant a tree too close to a house, power lines or fences when it’s small and takes up little space. Always allow room for the full-sized plant of tomorrow, not just the tiny sapling of today.

For more information on how to prepare your garden for the coming months, check out the UCCE Master Gardeners’ Rejuvenate Your Landscape workshop this weekend. It takes place 10 a.m. to noon, Saturday, in the Garden of the Seven Sisters, 2156 Sierra Way in San Luis Obispo.

Although the workshop is free, you’re required to register at our website, http://ucanr.edu/sites/mgslo.

Bring a hat and water as sometimes mother nature can surprise us with one last blast of summer. Garden docents will be available from noon to 1 p.m. Saturday to answer gardening questions.

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